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Israel FM cites 'conflict of interest'

Israel's hardline foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman Avigdor Lieberman (Hebrew: אביגדור ליברמן‎), also Liberman  admitted on Monday that a "conflict of interest" had sidelined him in talks with the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  over West Bank settlements.

Lieberman, a resident of Nokdim -- a West Bank settlement considered illegal under international law -- said he did not want to blamed for any breakdown in Israel's talks with its most powerful ally.

He told MPs from his ultra-nationalist Israel Beitenu party that he had seen media reports speculating about why Defence Minister Ehud Barak was holding the talks with US Middle East envoy envoy: see diplomatic service.

Envoy - Motorola's integrated personal wireless communicator. Envoy is a personal digital assistant which incorporates two-way wireless and wireline communication.
 George Mitchell George Mitchell may refer to:
  • George Mitchell (actor) (died 1972), actor whose a last major role was comic relief as the cantankerous survivor Jackson in The Andromeda Strain (film)
  • George Mitchell (musician) (1917–2002), Scottish musician

"The diplomatic answer is that the defence ministry, which deals with roadblocks, building permits and humanitarian issues, should deal with this issue," Lieberman said.

"The undiplomatic answer is that there is in my view a clear conflict of interest here involving someone who lives in a small isolated settlement not even attached to the larger settlement blocs," he said.

"I don't want to be blamed if talks fail," Lieberman added.

Barak was to meet with Mitchell Mitchell, city (1990 pop. 13,798), seat of Davison co., SE S.Dak.; inc. 1881. Mitchell is a trade, distribution, and shipping center for a dairy and livestock area.  in London on Tuesday following weeks of pressure from Washington for Israel to halt all settlement activity in order to relaunch Relaunch can refer to several things:
  • , a series of novels set in the Star Trek universe
  • Relaunch (process), is a marketing process in which a brand or product (such as a magazine or a car) is relaunched
 peace talks with the Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his right-wing government will not allow the building of new settlements but will also not halt the "natural growth" of existing ones.

Lieberman's home in Nokdim lies deep within the occupied West Bank outside the larger settlement blocs that Israel hopes to keep in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

The tough-talking immigrant from the former Soviet Union has sparked contoversy in the past because of his hardline positions towards Israel's Arab minority, with critics frequently accusing him of racism.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Jul 6, 2009
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